Fresh setback for police college

Published Wednesday, 12 March 2014
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Plans to build a new emergency services training college at Desertcreat near Cookstown have suffered a fresh setback, with the contractor understood to be unable to progress with the project.

Fresh setback for police college
The site of the planned training college at Desertcreat. (© UTV)

The multi-million pound project was aimed at building a joint police and fire training centre.

But it is understood that the firm Gilbert-Ash has raised issues regarding supply costs.

In a statement from the Programme Board of the Northern Ireland Community Safety College, it stressed its commitment to providing the training facilities for the PSNI, NIFRS and NI Prison Service.

"However, the Programme Board has been made aware of a number of cost pressures within the supply chain regarding the tender to build the new College by FGP Consortium, which comprises FCC Construccion and local company Gilbert Ash," the statement added.

"But in adherence to the procurement process, has yet to receive official confirmation from the bidder."

A statement for Gilbert-Ash said: "Since appointment as preferred bidder, Gilbert-Ash as part of the FGP consortium has invested considerable time and resources, working collaboratively with the Client team, to agree a financially viable way forward for both parties."

We have now communicated our position and we await the client's response.


Health Minister Edwin Poots, who was at a meeting in Belfast on Wednesday evening, has given his reaction to the latest developments.

"I think the scale of it - it will have to be an Executive decision," the DUP man told UTV.

"It is not a decision for the Justice Minister David Ford and myself to take and it certainly is a very significant setback."

Asked if the college will ever be built, he responded: "Well certainly we have to look for the value for money, and if the value for money is something which we do not believe delivers, then it would be the case that it would not be built, but we have not reached that point as yet."

Sandra Overend MLA called for the ministers to "get a grip" of the project.

"The Justice Minister and the Health Minister need to step in and get a grip of the Desertcreat project," the Ulster Unionist said.

"It has limped from stage to stage, it has been hit by delay after delay and now seems to have gone into reverse gear. The business case was approved in late 2011 and nearly two and a half years later we are still no further on.

"This latest announcement is a bolt from the blue and will be a blow to many people's hopes."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
LH in Belfast in Belfast wrote (322 days ago):
If you're going to build it, stop yaking, get you're fingers out and build it! Otherwise give the money to the hospitals who desperately need it, or open Belfast City Hospital A&E?! You sit up on that hill talking, reviewing the talks, creating a new committee to talk about the talks and the review, then appointing a consultancy firm that someone on the latest committee knows, that costs nearly as much as is allocated for the build! Someone take the bull by the horns and stop wasting , time, money, and the public's patience. Remember the public? They voted you into your posts!
BG in Bangor wrote (323 days ago):
It is scandalous that the Executive should think it sensible to spend this amount of money on a college for police/fire service etc. Why do we need this when the emergency services personnel were effectively trained and saw the province through 30 years of violence and bombing? This is while the executive has made the incredible decision to close the City A&E resulting in the crisis in the understaffed Royal A&E. We or at least our stupendously stupid politicians need to get their act together, stop making political decisions and wasting our money on white elephant structures, while peoples lives are put at risk in inadequate medical facilities and old people are turfed out of state run care homes. Ridiculous way to spend money.
D O NEILL in cookstown wrote (323 days ago):
shame on all people involved with the fire & police collage I think you will never see this collage in cookstown .
Sam in Ulster wrote (323 days ago):
It seems quite a waste of money. There are many schools and colleges earmarked for closure. With a bit of alteration and a few millions spent i should imagine one could be made fit for purpose to cover requirements
jean in Dungannon wrote (323 days ago):
This whole thing is a sham. The money that has been spend already on this project and not a sod cut.It all boils down to GREED.
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